by Steven Ertelt
July 28, 2007
Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — A Texas man who unsuccessfully tried to set off a bomb at an Austin abortion business pleaded guilty Friday on five criminal counts. Paul Ross Evans, who is 27, could find himself in prison for 40 years if convicted of his actions, which pro-life groups have soundly condemned.
Sutton left a duffle bag containing explosives in the parking lot of the Austin Women’s Health Center abortion facility one week after the Supreme Court handed down its decision upholding the partial-birth abortion ban.
An employee of the abortion center found the bag April 25 with the explosives and police eventually diffused the homemade nail bomb. The device could have killed or seriously injured anyone within 100 feet of it had it exploded.
Evans is in federal custody and a date has not been set for a sentencing hearing.
U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton talked with AP about the case.
"Mr. Evans placed a live bomb packed with nails in a place where he knew people would be hurt or killed when it went off. Through good police work and a little luck Mr. Evans’ plan was prevented," he said.
Evans admitted that he bought parts for the bomb at hardware stores in both Austin and Lufkin and placed the bomb and its timer near the abortion center the next day.
Investigators say the bomb did not go off because the triggering wire did not make contact with the explosive material.
The charges against Evans include malicious attempt to damage a building and property by means of explosive and fire, possession of a destructive device by a convicted felon and two counts of use and carrying of a destructive device in relation to a crime of violence.
Abortion advocates attempted to turn the isolated incident involving someone unaffiliated with the pro-life movement into a political statement.
"We live in fear of anti-choice extremism," local Planned Parenthood CEO Ken Lambrecht told News 8 in response to the incident. "We perform routine quarterly drills for bomb threats. We had one this very week, and our clinic is constantly aware of a potential threat."
But Texas Alliance for Life director Joe Pojman said that pro-life advocates are peaceful people and that any political movement has individual vigilantes that act on their own wrongheaded ideas.
"We get painted with the same brush as someone who is a criminal. We only condone peaceful legal activities," he said.
Pojman pointed to the activities of groups like the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center and its various pregnancy resource centers across the city that help pregnant women in need.
"There are about 14 or 15 in the greater Austin area. All their services are free. They want to help pregnant women who don’t feel they want to have an abortion," Pojman said.